Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beyond Babylon blacklisted by The Blade?

Beyond Babylon blacklisted by The Blade?
by David Ben-Ariel

Imagine writing your very first book, informing your local newspaper about its imminent publication, and then hearing nothing from them. Imagine such famous newspapers as The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Times giving your book advance publicity and yet your local newspaper that claims to be "One of America's Great Newspapers" remains deathly silent, no encouragement, no support to help promote a local author.

Imagine then a smaller newspaper running an interview with you about your book and controversial beliefs, reaching East Toledo and many small Ohio towns. When I again wrote The Blade's ombudsman, who allegedly deals with issues of fairness and accuracy, questioning why The Blade had yet to review my book when The Press already reviewed Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall, wondering why The Blade didn't lead rather than follow and he merely responds with, "What Press?" and nothing more. I answered him both The Press and The Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune had run articles about Beyond Babylon and didn't hear back from him.

Before my name change from David A. Hoover to David Ben-Ariel, The Blade graciously published my pro-Israel letters almost monthly at times. Later when my staunch support of Israel, inspired by my Christian-Zionist beliefs, clashed with their pro-PLO bias, those published letters became fewer and far between, especially after I called them to inform them that, unlike a caption under a recent photo, and comments within various articles they ran, that Judaism's holiest site wasn't the Western/Wailing Wall but the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the fellow said the Temple Mount was a Muslim holy site and controlled by the Wakf (a Muslim board) and hung up! When I called right back and said regardless that the Muslims occupied the Temple Mount, it is still Judaism's holiest site, he hung up again! How UNprofessional for "One of America's Great Newspapers"!

I'm sure after several unpleasant incidents like this, especially when I publicized them in letters that appeared in The Jerusalem Post worldwide, commenting how The Blade could have easily verified what I said with any local rabbi or checked out this information at Toledo's excellent main library (that is in walking distance of their handsome building), they weren't too happy with me. It's interesting to note that they didn't have a single article about my unjust deportation from Israel (due to politico-religious persecution), yet they had several about some area "Palestinians" who were justly deported from the Jewish homeland. The only mention of my harrowing experience was a single letter-to-the-editor that made it in The Blade, even though my case involved Ohio's Marcy Kaptur, Ohio Senators DeWine and Voinovich, the Jerusalem-based Temple Mount Faithful and Israel's General Security Serices (their "FBI") and Israel's High Court! Certainly newsworthy if only as a human-interest story, wouldn't you say?

Recently I wrote the ombudsman Jack Lessenberry again, with a carbon copy to the editor-in-chief Tom Walton. He responded curtly that such reviews are usually done within the first six months of publication and they didn't review self-published books. I promptly responded both Publish America and I had informed The Blade about the imminent publication of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall, as well as later informing them of its publication, and that since Beyond Babylon was NOT self-published, when could I expect a review? He wrote that I should contact the lady who is their book reviewer (without including her e-mail address).

Today I called her, after not hearing from her in a week and a half, to ask if she had received my information. Of course, she had. She said she emailed me yesterday to contact the business department. I told her Beyond Babylon wasn't really business-related, but that it was politico-religious in nature. I had already contacted The Blade religion editor without any response, so she said that she doesn't normally review a book unless it will be likely to become a best-seller. I asked her how a book could become a best-seller without publicity? She said to again contact Mr. Lessenberry, but she couldn't "force him to review it." I told her I was disappointed in The Blade and would hope that he wouldn't have to be "forced" to help promote a local author.

What a run-around from "One of America's Great Newspapers"! At the very least, looking at the bright side of such experiences, various departments of The Blade are now well aware of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall and they've provided me with this material for an article to share with readers worldwide, which I've now done and you're one of them!

David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out the Beyond Babylon blog.

Beyond Babylon

David Ben-Ariel

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